Microsoft's Windows NT-based operating systems include two utilities for editing the registry, Regedit.exe and Regedt32.exe. While each performs essentially the same functions, there are subtle differences between the two that may have varying levels of importance depending on the specifics of your administrative computing needs.
Compatibility with Different Versions of Windows
Regedit is available in all versions of Windows since Windows 95, while Regedt32 is only available in Windows NT, 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003. Also, Regedit is a 16-bit Windows application, while Regedt32 is a 32-bit Windows application.
Value Type Handling
Both Regedit and Regedit32 handle simple value types, such as REG_DWORD, REG_SZ and REG_BINARY. But Regedit32 also handles complex value types, such as REG_EXPAND_SZ, REG_MULTI_SZ, REG_RESOURCE_LIST,
REG_FULL_RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR and REG_RESOURCE_REQUIREMENTS_LIST.
Importing and Exporting of Registry Files
Regedit allows for importing and exporting of text-based registry files, while Regedit32 permits only exporting of text-based registry files, but does support importing and exporting of binary registry files.
Executable File Location
The executable file location for Regedit is at %WinBootDir%, which is typically in the Windows directory on the "C:" drive. The executable file for Regedit32 is located at %SystemRoot%\System32, usually in the winnt\system32 directory on the "C:" drive.
Regedit32 offers the option to support Read-Only and Permissions security modes, while Regedit has no security options.
Key and Value Searches
Regedit supports both key and value searches, but Regedit32 only permits key searches -- it does not allow value searches.